LEAD Agency Celebrates 20 Years of “LEADing the way for Environmental Justice!”

Miami, OK – Earl Hatley can’t believe where the time’s gone. “Wow, 20 years!! It’s been quite a ride, but still feels like the beginning,” he said when announcing an anniversary party for the environment protection organization founded in 1997 and that boasts of “LEADing the way for environmental justice in Oklahoma.

It’s a valid argument.

Nov. ’97 was the official incorporation of Local Environmental Action Demanded (LEAD) Agency, Inc. and the organization has been advancing environmental awareness and action ever since.

On Thursday Nov. 30, from 4:00 pm to 7:00 pm, LEAD is celebrating with an open house Happy Anniversary LEAD Agency Party. The event will be held at the LEAD office at 223 A SE Miami, OK (at the corner of A SE St & Steve Owens Blvd).

“The public is invited to come visit the office, have some snacks, tea, coffee and soft drinks and look over the history of our work,” Hatley explained. “We look forward to seeing everyone and talking about our past and where we are going as an organization and community.”

LEAD’s record of data collection and investigation, as well as education, is impressive.

“LEAD Agency began with a focus on the Tar Creek Superfund Site but has always investigated other environmental issues, as well as worked with the community and area teachers on recycling and service learning projects. In 2003, LEAD joined the international organization Waterkeeper Alliance in order to establish your Grand Riverkeeper. In 2016, we created the Tar Creekkeeper program.”

LEAD was co-founded by Hatley and Rebecca Jim, LEAD Executive Director, and they serve as the two “Keepers” respectively.

“LEAD Agency has been doing our best to do right for the last 20 years in our efforts to speak up for the environment and her people,”said Ms. Jim. “Our organization started with a small group of people trying to figure out the language/jargon in EPA files on the Tar Creek Superfund Site, our watershed issues, how to lower lead levels in children and how to find ways to give the communities affected by these issues chances to learn more about them.”

Hatley and Jim say that this past September, LEAD conducted its 19th Annual Environmental Conference at Tar Creek. “Next year will not only be a 20 year mark for the conference but will be the 15 year anniversary for the Grand Riverkeeper, “Hatley said. “LEAD has conducted studies into environmental issues in northeast OK and the Tri-State area (Neosho, Spring, upper Grand River watershed) and maintains our own small lab for water, soil and dust sampling. Together with our research partners we have gathered a lot of environmental and environmental health data over the years and are keeping as current as possible. Our conferences and public events and newsletters help to spread the information we are finding about our environment here and more globally,”

For more information call 918-542-9399 or visit www.leadagency.org.